Resumption of burials a high risk the country cannot afford to take – MP Muzammil
Posted on November 12th, 2020

By Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy The Island

‘We shouldn’t seek exclusive rights during a grave crisis’

SLPP (Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna) National List MP Mohammed Muzammil yesterday strongly urged the government not to resume burial of Muslim corona victims under any circumstances, though a section of the Muslim community is demanding that Muslim covid-19 victims be allowed to be buried.

Muzammil, who represents the National Freedom Front (NFF), a constituent of the SLPP, said that the country was struggling to cope with the corona pandemic and no one should be allowed to play politics at a time of national health emergency.

The NFF has five elected MPs and one National List MP in the 145-member SLPP parliamentary group.

In a brief interview with The Island over the phone, the former JVP MP emphasised that whatever the religious dictates and sentiments, the Sri Lankan Muslim community should adhere to specific instructions issued by the government as regards the cremation of corona victims.

Pointing out that the ongoing corona second wave could lead to a an unprecedented catastrophe, Muzammil said the Muslim community had no option but to follow government guidelines. The national economy was already in tatters, as in many other countries, with all major revenue sources such as tourism, garment trade and foreign remittances badly affected, and, therefore any further deterioration of health situation could be disastrous, the MP said.

The government would have to take decisions for the benefit of all people, the MP said, adding that the burial of corona victims was against the health guidelines now in place. Commenting on other Muslim members of parliament pushing for the burial of Muslims dying of COVID-19, Muzammil said that they should be free to express their views. There is nothing wrong in them taking a stand on this sensitive issue,” the MP said, emphasizing the responsibility on the part of the government to do the right thing.

Muzammil said that he deeply regretted the issue caused by the demand for Muslim burial rights. Responding to another query, the MP pointed out that the Catholic community accepted the government dictates in that regard without causing unnecessary issues.

The MP warned of dire consequences if decision-makers allowed burials at the expense of, what he called the overall health of the country. Let me explain how burial of bodies could cause a catastrophe. Unlike Catholics, we do not cover a hole dug in the ground to receive the body with sand. Instead, we place some planks and then cover them with sand. This can pose quite a health hazard. Therefore burials shouldn’t be permitted under any circumstances,” Muzammil said.

The MP pointed out how the community could be affected if bodies were released to the families. There could be corona outbreaks all over the place, lawmaker Muzammil said, pointing out how the situation could go out of control.

Responding to another query, Muzammil said that he might earn the wrath of a section of the community for taking a stand contrary to that of their other members of parliament. The lawmaker said that he felt it was his duty to educate the Muslims of the need to follow the government guidelines and also strengthen the government initiatives to contain the rapidly spreading virus.

The MP urged that no one should play politics with the issue at the expense of the country. The country should be told in no uncertain terms that decisions were taken by the government, in consultation with the health authorities, and the military, and it would be the responsibility of all communities to follow specific instructions.

All communities, including the Muslims, should be prepared to give up traditions, and practices, until experts had finalized studies, he said.

We are still in control of the situation. But, we are certainly not in a position to take a chance. Decisions must be followed to the letter. I also believe Muslims have to be buried. I support that position. But the extraordinary situation on the ground makes my personal stand, on this matter, irrelevant,” MP Muzammil said.

Whatever the politicians say, the vast majority of Lankans realized that the country should follow what was best for all, the NFF representative said.

Muzammil warned that burial of COVID-19 victims could, overnight, cause the rapid deterioration of the situation. Urging the government to be firm on the matter, the MP said: Please don’t let a few illogical men jeopardize the health of all.”

Muslim burials were done in accordance with Arabian customs which the Sri Lankan Muslim community would have to give up or face the consequences. We shouldn’t be part of the problem,” the lawmaker said.

Lawmaker Muzammil said that though he wanted to oppose resumption of burials and generally dealt with the issue, he couldn’t get an opportunity to address the parliament when the Corona threat was debated on Oct 23. The government parliamentary group was allocated 162 minutes. There were 31 speakers, I wasn’t among them.”

Muzammil said that the Muslim community should speak in one voice on this matter.

One Response to “Resumption of burials a high risk the country cannot afford to take – MP Muzammil”

  1. Nimal Says:

    Good on you Mr Muzammil because your logic stand to reason, a true Muslim guided by logic and science where the great prophet want the followers to independently investigate the truth and that means burials are not safe with this endemic.Folowers pf the prophet broke all barriers and myths and discovered the ‘Western’ medicines we were familiar with where elements and compounds made of basic chemical elements were used for the first time that the familiar medical mixtures our good old dispensaries used. And newly discovered medical techniques by the Arabs dispelled the snake oil culture,even un proved herbal medicines which were mere myths passed on through generations but some were effective but not all.
    We must not forget Muslim Arabs that contributed astronomy and science that was revealed for us through the first known university in the world which is the university of Salamanca in Spain. Sadly there discoveries were hijacked by the usual Western vultures. All religions were progressive but badly distorted over decades and of the most important revelations for our lives were revealed by Lord Buddha where he proclaimed that every aspect in our lives and in the world, nature is cyclical which is so true. Simple example is mood swings, rich and poor,the planets, elements in the atoms and molecules,etc etc.We have distorted his teaching by selling prayer wheels and no wonder the Chines put an end to that nonsense by invading Tibet and brought that backward country to the modern world.All other past religions including I slam needs a revival otherwise the distortions have given way to evil killings in the name of the faith which was very peaceful.
    sadly the Arabs are gone down to the bottom of the Cycle of life,cycle of civilization where the prophet revealed where everything in the world is cyclical and I am sure one day they will rise up with a new banner while the cave dwellers in the advance Western world will go down the cycle.One evidence is that they are now using our educated people to prop up their ecnomy,their health industry where the locals are on a downward path as hardly their indigenous kids want to excel but indulge then all the silly habits like alcohol drinking, over indulgent in foot ball watching as if nothing else matters and I feel truly sorry for the country I reside and do my best to contribute to their welfare and economy where they in the height of their progressive new found culture abolished slavery, that was normal in every country,devloped our countries with the newfound law where every citizen was equal under the law. All good done by the colonials are in denial to our misery that we are creating. This virus could change many things that we took for granted.
    Sorry for any errors,no time too correct.

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